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Waste drum at Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory exploded, caught fire

Waste drum at Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory exploded, caught fire, By Andrew Brown, Jul 15, 2019

A waste drum at a nuclear fuel factory near Columbia caught fire and exploded last week, according to a federal safety report. 

The workplace accident occurred at a Westinghouse facility in Hopkins, just off of Bluff Road. The plant makes pellets for nuclear power plants.

In a report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Westinghouse said the drum exploded around 2 a.m. Friday after workers at the plant filled it with uranium-contaminated filters, rags, mops and some paper. The container held just over 70 grams of uranium, which is used in nuclear power plants to create a chain reaction that generates electricity.

Westinhouse said a chemical reaction caused the material to heat up, building pressure in the drum. The container blew off its lid, paper inside caught fire, and some of the contaminated material showered the surrounding area, according to the report.

A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the fire essentially put itself out.

No workers at the plant were injured during the accident and testing confirmed that radiation levels didn’t exceed federal safety limits, according to the company. Westinghouse employees also checked the other drums at the facility to ensure they wouldn’t overheat and explode.

Air samples taken within the area confirmed no impact to plant personnel, the public or the environment,” Westinghouse spokeswoman Courtney Boone.

Boone said Westinghouse was studying what caused the drum to explode. The company plans to set new rules to keep the wrong materials from mixing, and it will let containers of nuclear material vent to keep pressure from building inside. The Hopkins plant isn’t packaging waste in the meantime

NRC spokesman Joey Ledford said federal inspectors would address the explosion when they make a routine inspection later this month.

It’s not the first time the factory has caught the attention of regulators. The NRC reported last year that uranium at the factory leaked out a small hole and into the ground, according to a story in The State newspaper.

Thad Moore contributed to this report.


July 18, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima – a nuclear catastrophe that continues

Expert says 2020 Tokyo Olympics unsafe due to Fukushima | 60 Minutes

Fukushima: an ongoing disaster, Red Flag , Jack Crawford, 15 July 2019 In March – on the eighth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster – Time magazine published an article with the headline: “Want to Stop Climate Change? Then It’s Time to Fall Back in Love with Nuclear Energy”. In it, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, evokes the imminent threat of climate catastrophe to argue, “There are paths out of this mess. But on March 11, 2011 [the day of the Fukushima disaster], the world’s course was diverted away from one of the most important. I am talking about nuclear energy”. He continues by criticising public fears of nuclear as irrational: “Plane crashes have not stopped us from flying, because most people know it is an effective means of travelling”. Blix speaks for the global nuclear industry, which is increasingly attempting to present itself as the solution to climate change.

But plane crashes do not kill untold numbers and spread deadly poisons over huge areas of the planet. Fukushima was and still is a horrific and ongoing human and environmental catastrophe, exposing the horrendous risks to which the powerful are willing to subject people and the planet. It should be remembered every time a pro-nuclear bureaucrat or politician exploits genuine concern about climate change to promote this deadly industry. It should never be forgotten.

………..Today, towns such as Futaba, Tomioka and Okuma are nuclear ghost towns. In them you will find a forest of metal gates, decaying buildings, shattered glass and cars wrapped in vines. The only human faces are mannequins in store windows, still dressed in the fashion of 2011. Sprawled across the highway between towns are hundreds of black bags filled with toxic dirt. They are one of the many problems of the clean-up effort. There are about 30 million one-tonne bags of radioactive topsoil, tree branches, grass and other waste. There is no safe, long-term storage place for this material.

The clean-up is undermined by cost cutting. Workers are forced to meet strict deadlines, even if it compromises safety. “There were times when we were told to leave the contaminated topsoil and just remove the leaves so we could get everything done on schedule”, explained Minoru Ikeda, a former worker. “Sometimes we would look at each other as if to say: ‘What on earth are we doing here?’”

The task is mammoth. The government and TEPCO now say that decommissioning the failed nuclear plant will take 40 years, at a cost of ¥22 trillion (or US$200 billion). But there is significant uncertainty about how to remove the hundreds of tonnes of molten fuel from the reactors. “For the removal of the debris, we don’t have accurate information or any viable methodology for that”, admitted the plant’s manager, Akira Ono, in 2015. “We need to develop many, many technologies.”

Beyond the plant itself, the total clean-up is likely to cost between ¥50 trillion and ¥70 trillion (US$460-640 billion), according to the estimates of a right wing think tank, the Japan Center for Economic Research. Thousands of workers continue to make daily trips between the contaminated zones and company accommodation. Dodgy subcontractors recruit largely from Japan’s destitute, including the homeless, migrant workers and asylum seekers. A recent Greenpeace investigation, “On the Frontline of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Workers and Children”, found evidence of hyper-exploitation and dangerous radiation exposure. In one case, a 55-year-old homeless man was paid the equivalent of US$10 for a month’s work. “TEPCO is God”, lamented Tanaka, another homeless Fukushima worker. “The main contractors are kings, and we are slaves.”

Scandalously, organised crime has penetrated the clean-up operations. Those with debts to the Yakuza (Japanese organised crime) have found themselves shoved into hazmat suits and set to work. The subcontracting system has allowed TEPCO to turn a blind eye to such human rights abuses.

Despite triumphant optimism from some champions of nuclear, researchers continue to uncover unexpected and unpredictable consequences of the Fukushima disaster. These include the discovery of tiny, glassy beads containing extremely high concentrations of caesium-137 (a radioactive isotope) among polluted dust and dirt particles. These bacterium-sized particles are easily inhaled and persistently insoluble. How they react with our bodies and the environment is not yet clear, but scientists increasingly believe them to be a health risk. The beads have been found as far from the disaster site as Tokyo.

The dangers faced by those returning to Fukushima prefecture have been a central controversy of recent years. Compelled by economic necessity, most have returned. But as of February 2019, 52,000 remain displaced, either unwilling to return or with homes in still-prohibited zones. In a recent press tour, the government repeatedly blamed “harmful rumours” for creating fear of returning as well as the Japanese public’s unwillingness to consume Fukushima’s fish and agricultural products.

“To me”, explained activist Riken Komatsu, “talking about ‘harmful rumours’ sounds like they are making someone else the bad guy or villain, as if they are blaming people for saying negative things because they don’t understand science and radiation. But those who have lost our trust do not have the right”.

Mistrust is justified. Prime minister Shinzo Abe, keen to move on from the crisis, intends to end evacuations by the time Japan hosts the 2020 Olympics. The international and (prior to the meltdowns) Japanese standard of acceptable exposure to radiation, one millisievert per year, has been scrapped. Across Fukushima prefecture, measurements five times that level are now deemed safe. 

Some places measure as high as 20 millisieverts per year. These radiation levels are especially dangerous for children, who are far more sensitive than adults to even low levels of exposure. It will take decades before the cost of the authorities’ carelessness can be measured in increased cancer rates. The loss of happy, healthy human life of course can never be quantified………

those who “benefit” from the powerful nuclear industry are the same people who crave military dominance. The politicians and officials currently fighting to rebuild Japanese nuclear capability are thinking far more about the military tensions surrounding them than tackling climate change. We don’t need to a build a world full of deadly nuclear power plants to combat climate change. We need clean, renewable energy and a system that prioritises people and the planet over money and military might.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, incidents | Leave a comment

Safety breaches at Sellafield nuclear waste plant

NUCLEAR FEAR Security scares at Sellafield nuclear waste plant raise fears of disaster ‘worse then Chernobyl’, Sun, John Siddle, 14 Jul 2019,

SECURITY scares at Sellafield raise fears of a disaster “worse than Chernobyl”, campaigners warn.

The Sun on Sunday can reveal there have been 25 safety breaches logged at the massive nuclear waste plant in the past two years. The 6km razor-wired compound stores a 140 tonne plutonium stockpile and handles radioactive waste generated by the UK’s working reactors.

The clean-up site in Cumbria has been dubbed the most hazardous place in Europe. Nuclear bosses insist safety is an “overriding priority”.

Incidents logged at Sellafield include radiation leaking from a water pipe and a nuclear waste container that was not welded completely shut.

Other alerts were triggered when potentially harmful uranium powder was spilled and acid was discovered leaking from a bust pipe

Janine Smith, from the campaign group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said locals lived in fear of a serious incident.

‘COULD BE WORSE THAN CHERNOBYL’She said: “One safety breach is one too many. There just shouldn’t be any. Just one error could be catastrophic.

“It’s not like making a mistake inside a chocolate factory. The buildings at Sellafield are all so close together that if something was to happen at that site it would be a disaster.

“We just keep our fingers crossed, and everything else, that we don’t ever have to witness a nuclear disaster in this country. It could be worse than Chernobyl”.

According to the logs, the bomb squad was called in October 2017 when potentially unstable chemicals sparked an emergency scare.

A month later, in a separate incident, a worker was found to have been exposed to a low level of radiation……

‘ONE ERROR COULD BE CATASTROPHIC’The Environment Agency has taken enforcement action against Sellafield ten times since September over compliance breaches.

A spokesman said: “Nuclear facility operators must adhere to the highest waste control standards.

“Where Sellafield has fallen short of these standards, the impact has generally been extremely small and we have taken firm and appropriate action.”

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) also hit Sellafield with an improvement notice this year after a high-voltage cable was sliced, causing a power loss……….

July 15, 2019 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Planetary catastrophe – was not likely from the Russian nuclear submarine accident

Russian Navy Claims Sailors Prevented ‘Planetary Catastrophe’
Was the damaged submarine’s reactor in danger of causing a nuclear accident?  By Kyle Mizokami, Jul 10, 2019  A senior Russian Navy official said that accident on the nuclear-powered submarine Losharik was nearly a “planetary catastrophe,” were it not for the fourteen sailors killed in the incident. The submarine, widely believed to be a spy sub capable of operating on the deep ocean floor, was damaged in an accident on July 1st. The Kremlin denied there was risk of such a “catastrophe.”

An aid to the head of the Russian Navy, Sergei Pavlov, stated at a funeral for the sailors lost in the accident, “With their lives, they saved the lives of their colleagues, saved the vessel and prevented a planetary catastrophe.” Pavlov reportedly did not elaborate.

The Kremlin denied that the reactor had been at risk, stating that it had been “totally sealed off” and there were no problems with it. Radiation monitoring stations in Norway relatively near where the incident took place have not reported any spikes in radioactivity.

The accident, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, started in the sub’s battery compartment and spread. This suggests a fire that was the result of a buildup of hydrogen gasses inside the ship. Submarines, even nuclear ones, carry banks of batteries to provide a temporary source of power, and hydrogen is produced as a byproduct of the battery charging process. If the gas reaches a critical level of concentration, a spark onboard the ship could set off a fire.

According to Shoigu, the crew battled the fire for an hour and a half. Although the automatic fire extinguishers kicked in, they proved insufficient. The surviving crew managed to initiate an emergency blow procedure and the ship surfaced off the coast of the Kola Peninsula, where the remaining crew members were rescued.

Losharik, named after a cartoon horse made of interconnected juggling balls, got its name because the interior of the ship is made of seven interconnected steel or titanium spheres. The spheres give the ship its deep diving capability, with the sub reportedly capable of reaching depths of at least 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).

It is not clear where Losharik’s 5 megawatt nuclear reactor resides, but the ship is only 230 feet long with all personnel, propulsion systems, and mission equipment inside the seven spheres. The fire could not have been far from the reactor, but if the reactor and batteries resided in different spheres they could have been closed off from one another. Shoigu seems to be stating that was the case.

Even if the fire did reach the reactor it seems unlikely that the ejection of radioactive materials could cause a “planetary catastrophe” on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Losharik’s reactor generated just five megawatts, the RBMK reactor at Chernobyl was much more powerful and used much more nuclear material to generate up to 3,200 megawatts.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Intruders jump fence at U.S. nuclear reactor that uses bomb-grade fuel

Intruders jump fence at U.S. nuclear reactor that uses bomb-grade fuel Timothy Gardner  WASHINGTON (Reuters) 12 July 19,- Two people jumped a security fence at a GE Hitachi research reactor near San Francisco, the U.S. nuclear power regulator said on Thursday, raising concerns over a plant that is one of the few in the country that uses highly enriched uranium, a material that could be used to make an atomic bomb.

The intruders jumped a security perimeter fence at the Vallecitos reactor in Alameda County on Wednesday afternoon, a 1,600-acre (647.5-hectare) site about 40 miles (64 km) east of San Francisco, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on its website in a security threat notice.

They escaped security at the plant after being detected, but shortly afterwards suspects were detained outside the facility, the NRC said.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The NRC notice did not mention that the plant is one of the few in the country to use highly enriched uranium, or HEU. Such plants have been under pressure from non-proliferation interests to convert to low-enriched uranium, or LEU, a material that cannot be used to make a bomb…….

July 13, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Was Russian nuclear submarine accident close to a planetary catastrophe?

Russian servicemen ‘averted planetary catastrophe’ during nuclear submarine accident, military official claims at funeral

Kremlin refuses to reveal mission of vessel, citing state secrets Tom Embury-Dennis   8 July 19, Families of the 14 Russian servicemen who were killed after a fire broke out on a nuclear submarine have reportedly been told that their relatives averted a “planetary catastrophe” before they died.

A high-ranking military official is said to have made the comment at a funeral for the crew in St Petersburgh days after the accident in the Barents Sea earlier this week.

The incident remains shrouded in mystery after the Russian government refused to reveal the submarine’s name and its mission, claiming them as state secrets.

However, the Kremlin has said the accident was sparked by a fire in the battery compartment of the submarine.

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier this week that the onboard nuclear reactor was “operational” after the crew took “necessary measures” to protect it.

  • His deputy Andrei Kartapolov also claimed the “hero” submariners sealed a hatch to contain the blaze.
  • The Kremlin has not revealed what exactly occurred, or whether a major incident was averted by the servicemen’s actions.Paying tribute to the crew at the memorial, the unnamed military official said the submariners had prevented a much bigger tragedy, Russian news outlet Open Media reported.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Arrests in Turkey for theft of nuclear weapons material

Nuclear weapon material worth $72mn seized in a car in Turkey : 7 Jul, 2019  Turkish police have taken five people into custody over the smuggling of a highly-radioactive substance used to build nuclear weapons and power nuclear reactors. The 18.1-gram haul was found in a car.

Police discovered a vial of the material after they pulled over a car in the northwestern Bolu province. The substance, believed to be californium, was found stashed under the gear stick wrapped in a bag. Officers had to cut the upholstery to get to the parcel, which is estimated to be worth US$72 million.

Five suspects were detained in the raid, and the mixture was taken to the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) for a detailed analysis.

Californium is named after the place where it was synthesized back in 1950 – a laboratory at the University of California. Apart from being used to manufacture nukes and nuclear-powered reactors, the element also has a range of rather innocuous civilian applications. It can be used as part of metal detectors and is used in cancer treatment as well as oil, silver, and gold mining operations. Still, the substance is highly dangerous and its production, distribution, and transportation is restricted. Currently, only the US and Russia synthesize the isotope.

It is not the first time Turkish police have reported a major bust involving californium.

In a scare in March of last year, police in Ankara said they had seized a whopping 1.4kg of the same substance in a car following a tip-off. It turned out to be false alarm, as the haul was later found to have no trace of nuclear or radioactive material, and was, in fact, organic matter.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Turkey | Leave a comment

Fire on Russian nuclear submarine: heroic crew prevented nuclear catastrophe.

Russia’s nuclear submarine disaster will test President Vladimir Putin and his navy. ABC News, By Alexey Muraviev  4 July 19, Russia’s Ministry of Defence has officially acknowledged an incident this week with one of its deep-submergence vehicles (DSV) within Russian territorial waters.

The incident seems to point to one of Russia’s most closely guarded naval assets — the Project 10831 AS-31 (AS-12) Kalitka (Norsub-5), more commonly known as Losharik.

It is named after a popular Soviet cartoon character because of its design specifications — a series of titanium spheres under the hull designed to withstand extreme water pressure.

A secret assignment    According to the latest reports, all those killed onboard were assigned to a secret naval unit stationed in St Petersburg, which is responsible for operations of Project 18510 Nel’ma (X-Ray) “autonomous deep-sea stations” — Russia’s official description of the DSV-type platforms — the AS-21 and the AS-35.

However, the declared number of casualties and the seniority of the deceased personnel is unclear. It is assumed the tragedy occurred onboard the AS-12, which has an estimated crew of some 25 officers.

All these special-purpose submarines are assigned to the 29th “deep water” Submarine Division based at the Gadzhievo submarine base on the Kola peninsula.

Formally assigned to the Russian Northern Fleet, the “deep-water” submarine division is under the direct control of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s GUGI Directorate, which oversees covert marine and naval activities ranging from deep-sea oceanographic research to covert testing of advanced sea-based combat systems, to undersea special operations.

Covert trials of a nuclear-armed torpedo?   While official word suggests the submarine was undertaking scanning of the seabed in one sector of the Barents Sea, the actual mission being undertaken may be different.It is possible the submarine was taking part in the covert sea trials of the Poseidon sub-sea strategic combat system (a large calibre nuclear torpedo) .

The tragedy would be the first reported large-scale fatality sustained by GUGI’s secret force.

But it cannot be compared with previous disasters involving Russian nuclear-powered submarines such as the RFS Kursk Oscar II class catastrophe back in 2000 or the incident onboard RFS Nerpa Akula IIclass back in 2008.

This disaster has happened within a unit designed specifically to operate in extreme physical environments where the safety and professionalism of the crew is a key to survival and success.

The crew comprises only middle-to-senior rank officers…….

Was a nuclear disaster averted?

It is understood that the fire onboard led to the fatal intoxication of more than half of the crew — about 14 out of some 25 onboard — and serious injuries of another four or five onboard.

Any submariner would concur that a fire onboard a submarine on deployment poses a serious risk. Fire onboard a nuclear-powered submarine is even worse.

While it is unknown what triggered that fatal fire, a mechanical failure or a human error, the fact is clear: the crew, at the cost of their lives, prevented a potentially major environmental disaster if the DSV had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, or exploded……

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

Local fishermen saw the Russian nuclear submarine accident

Fishermen witnessed nuclear submarine drama, The sub quickly surfaced and there were subsequent signs of panic on the deck, the local fishermen say. The accident might have been caused by a gas explosion. Barents Observer, By  Atle Staalesen,July 03, 2019

They were out doing illegal fishing and do not want to reveal their names. But the men who late Monday evening were onboard a small local fishing boat off the coast of the Kola Peninsula told news agency SeverPost that they witnessed what appeared as a state of emergency.

Eye witnesses

It happened around 9.30 pm near the Ura Bay, one of the witnesses says.

«We were heading towards Kildin, and then, about half past nine in the evening, a submarine surfaces. Suddenly and completely surfaces. I have never seen anything like it in my life. On the deck, people were running around and making fuss,» he told SeverPost.

The fishermen hid in nearby bay from where they saw that a navy vessel and two tugs quickly arrived on site. Around 11 pm, the vessels accompanied the submarine away from the area. There was no sign of smoke, they say.

Other locals later reported that they saw bodies being taken out of the submarine and to an approaching ship.

A source in the Russian Navy later told SeverPost that the submarine seen by the local fishermen was most likely the «Podmoskovie», the mother vessel of the special purpose submarine «Losharik» (AS-31). The «Podmoskovie» is a rebuilt Delta-IV class submarine designed to carry the much smaller «Losharik».

Sources in the Navy on Tuesday told Russian media that the accident had happened in the «Losharik». ……


July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear submarine fire: what is known so far

What We Know About Russia’s Deadly Nuclear Sub Fire So Far 3 July 19   Fourteen sailors were killed in a fire on board a Russian Defense Ministry research vessel while carrying out a survey of the sea floor off Russia’s Arctic coast.

President Vladimir Putin has dispatched Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Severomorsk, the Russian naval base on the Barents Sea where the submarine is now located, to find out what caused the incident and report back to him.

Here’s what we know so far:

— The incident took place on Monday — nearly a day before the news was released — in Russian territorial waters in the Barents Sea, Shoigu reported to Putin.

— The 14 sailors died of smoke inhalation, Shoigu told Putin late on Tuesday.

— He said the crew extinguished the fire “through their decisive action.”

— A Navy commission has been tasked with investigating the cause of the tragedy and a military branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee has openedan inquiry into the deaths.

— The Defense Ministry had informed Putin of the accident on the day it occurred, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

The submarine

— Russian officials have not commented on the type of vessel involved in the deadly fire.

— An unnamed source in the security forces told the RBC news website the incident took place on the AS-31, a secretive deep-sea nuclear submarine.

— Launched in 2003, the submarine nicknamed Losharik was designed for research, rescue and special military operations, and can hold up to 25 crew members. — It is made from a series of interconnected spheres, making it stronger than conventional submarine designs and allowing it to resist water pressure at great depths.

— Analysts believe the vessel is a key asset of GUGI, the Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, and not part of the Russian Navy. St. Petersburg’s news website and the Kommersant business daily reported that Losharik’s crew members allegedly belong to a military unit that reports to GUGI.


— The Defense Ministry has not released the names of those on board the vessel.

— Putin noted that of the 14 casualties, seven held the rank of captain 1st rank and two had held the Hero of Russia award, the highest military honor issued in the post-Soviet period. — Shoigu confirmed that there were survivors, but did not specify how many. Anonymously sourced reports suggested four to five crew members survived the fire.

— RBC, citing social media, listed four names of possible casualties. They include the son of the military unit leader; a submarine commander who holds captain 1st rank and Hero of Russia; and a second captain 1st rank.

— An Orthodox cathedral in Murmansk, a city north of Severodvinsk, has listed 14 names in its announcement of a service “for the fallen seamen-submariners” on Wednesday evening.


— Putin called the incident “a great loss for the [Northern] Fleet, and indeed for the Army.”

— Acting governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov and Murmansk region governor Andrey Chibis expressed their condolences to the victims. — “The Losharik incident will likely have a deep operational impact on [GUGI], given how advanced and relatively few these submarines are,” a former U.S. National Security Council staffer told the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news outlet.

— The United States has allegedly not received requests for assistance from the Russian government, a U.S. 6th Fleet spokesperson told the U.S. Naval Institute’s USNI News website.— Norwegian officials said they had been in touch with their Russian counterparts and were monitoring, but had not detected abnormally high levels of radiation.

— Colleagues around the world, including the U.S., will mourn the loss of 14 Russian sailors because of a “special bond between all submariners,” wroteWashington Examiner columnist Tom Rogan.

Past accidents

— This is the largest accident to take place on a Defense Ministry submarine since 2008, when a freon gas leak on the nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa killed 20 and injured 21.

— In August 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank to the floor of the Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard. That accident, soon after Putin took office, focused official attention on the state of the military and its hardware, which had been underfunded and neglected after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Sub

14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Sub  3 July 19 Fourteen submariners on board a Russian Defense Ministry research vessel were killed in a fire while carrying out a survey of the sea floor off Russia’s Arctic coast, the ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

The incident took place on the AS-31 deep-sea nuclear submarine nicknamed Losharik, an unnamed source in the security forces told the RBC news website. Launched in 2003, Losharik was designed for research, rescue and special military operations and can hold up to 25 crew members.

The fire broke out at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, RBC cited its source as saying, nearly a day before the ministry released the news. “On July 1 in Russian territorial waters a fire broke out on board a deep-water scientific research vessel that was studying the marine environment of the world ocean on behalf of the Russian navy,” Interfax cited a ministry statement as saying.

“Fourteen submariners died as the result of smoke inhalation … Work is underway to establish the cause of the incident. The investigation is being conducted by the commander-in-chief of the navy.”

The fire has been extinguished and the submarine is now at the Russian Northern Fleet’s base in Severomorsk on the Barents Sea, Interfax quoted the ministry as saying. The statement as cited by the agencies did not identify the type or model of the underwater vessel.

This is the largest accident to take place on a Defense Ministry submersible since 2008, when a freon gas leak on the nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa killed 20 and injured 21.

In August 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank to the floor of Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard.That accident, soon after President Vladimir Putin took office, focused official attention on the state of the military and its hardware, which had been subject to underfunding and neglect after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since then, Putin has overseen a massive increase in military funding that has allowed the armed forces to renew their equipment and improve training and morale.

However, accidents have continued to happen as the military, used by the Kremlin to project its growing international muscle, has ramped up its activities and extended into new theatres of operation.

In December 2016, a Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria where Russian forces are deployed. Everyone on board was killed.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Violent Reaction’ Blew Open Furnace Containing Uranium at Y-12 Analytical Chemistry Building

BY EXCHANGEMONITOR, 3 July 19,   The site operations contractor for the Y-12 National Security Complex is finishing decontamination in Building 9995 after a furnace there blew open and spewed uranium in late May. The muffle furnace in Y-12’s Analytical Chemistry Facility partially exploded…(subscribers only)

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

What really went wrong at WIPP: An insider’s view of two accidents at the only US underground nuclear waste repository?

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 28th June 2019 , Within a 10-day period in
February 2014, two accidents happened at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
(WIPP) in New Mexico – the United States’ only underground repository
for nuclear waste.
First, a truck fire deep in the mine spread soot over
key equipment and disabled the repository’s air monitoring system. Then a
chemical reaction breached a waste drum, causing a radiological release
that contaminated large areas of the repository.
Two Accident Investigation
Boards and a Technical Assessment Team identified the immediate causes of
the accidents and recommended remedial actions.
The author, who served as the Deputy Under Secretary of the Energy Department at the time of the
accidents and during the three years WIPP was closed, examines the larger
problems within the Energy Department and its contractors that set the
stage for the accidents. He places the blame on mismanagement at the Los
Alamos National Laboratory; structural problems created by a statutory
“fence” between the National Nuclear Security Administration and the
rest of the Energy Department, including the Office of Environmental
Management, which is responsible for disposing of the waste from more than
60 years of nuclear weapons production; and a breakdown of the “nuclear

July 1, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Radioactive contamination triggers evacuation at shuttered Dounreay nuclear site in Scotland

Radioactive contamination triggers evacuation at shuttered nuclear site in Scotland, 28 Jun, 2019    Workers tasked with cleaning the decommissioned Dounreay nuclear facility in northern Scotland were evacuated from the site after “human error” resulted in low-level radioactive contamination, it has been revealed.

After an employee detected the contamination, a further investigation was quickly launched revealing several other “hot-spots” around the facility. Workers were immediately forced to vacate the area and work temporarily suspended, reportedthe Aberdeen-based Press and Journal.

Site managing director Martin Moore told a stakeholder group on Wednesday that the contamination had been “insignificant,” and was a result of a “lack of due diligence in monitoring around one of the barriers.”

It was human error. It shouldn’t have happened and we’re very disappointed that it did.

The incident actually took place on June 7, but it was only revealed to the public on Wednesday. Some people expressed anger that there was no public statement made on the day it occurred, although the Office for Nuclear Regulation was reportedly informed.

Officials from Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), the company tasked with decommissioning the plant, said that the measure had been precautionary and that the public was never in any danger.

There was no risk to members of the public, no increased risk to the workforce and no release to the environment.

DSRL has been working to decommission the site, which was shut down in 1994. Although they are also tasked with ensuring the area is decontaminated and clean of nuclear waste, they have already been censured for a safety violation at the same site in 2014, when a fire caused by employees released radioactivity into the atmosphere. In the wake of that incident, the company promised to “learn lessons” and implement a wide-ranging new safety strategy, which seemingly turned out to have issues as well.

Located in northern Scotland, Dounreay was established in 1955 to test UK nuclear reactor technology and shuttered in the mid-1990s. Barring any further accidents, work is expected to be completed between 2030 and 2033.

June 29, 2019 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

 Production at Australia’s only nuclear reactor facility halted after ‘safety incident’

Two workers exposed to unsafe radiation dose at Lucas Heights nuclear facility, Guardian, Michael McGowan @mmcgowan 24 Jun 2019

 Production at Australia’s only nuclear medicine facility halted after ‘safety incident’   Production has ceased and an urgent investigation has been launched after two employees at a newly opened Australian nuclear medicine facility at Lucas Heights were exposed to an unsafe dose of radiation late last week.Just two weeks after it was granted a licence to enter into full domestic production, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) has confirmed production at its new $168m nuclear medicine facility has been halted after “a safety incident” on Friday morning.

Ansto said three of its workers were “attended to by radiation protection personnel” after the incident, in which contamination was detected on the outside of a container holding 42 millilitres of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).

Two of those workers received a radiation dose above the legal limit roughly equivalent to a conventional cancer radiation therapy treatment, an Ansto spokesman said……

Located at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility in Sydney’s south, the $168m nuclear medicine facility was announced by the federal government in 2012 with the goal of tripling Australian production of Mo-99, the parent isotope of Technetium-99m. …..

It is the second contamination scare at the Lucas Heights facility in only a few months.

In March three staff at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility were taken to hospital after they were exposed to sodium hydroxide when a cap came off a pipe in the nuclear medicine manufacturing building.

June 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents | Leave a comment